|A Certain Hound from Hell|
When I first read that this three-man play was a spoof, I immediately thought of the unfunny Peter Cook - Dudley Moore film "comedy" of The Hound that I stopped watching recently after five agonizing minutes.
In fact, Ann and I only attended the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company production of the play on Sunday out of a sense of Sherlockian fellowship. Paul Herbert, BSI, Official Secretary of the Tankerville Club, organized a club outing to the theater. I'm really glad that he did.
This Hound is hilarious. The excellent comic acting in the presentation we saw certainly had a lot to do with that. But the script is also excellent, and clearly written by someone whose knowledge of the source material extends beyond seeing a few old Basil Rathbone movies.
Most incredibly, perhaps, the essential plot of the great novel is all there. Only as I reflect now do I realize that the entire Laura Lyons / Franklin subplot is missing. I didn't miss it because virtually everything else is there, from Dr. Mortimer's walking stick at the beginning to Stapleton's demise on the moors at the end.
Much of the humor comes from sight gags that are hard to convey humorously. But, trust me, when the actor playing Holmes switches to Stapleton just by doffing his deerstalker and turning his head to show the eyepatch, it's quite funny. The same actor, by the way, also plays a gypsy, Barrymore, Mrs. Barrymore, and Stapleton's sister/wife.
If you ever have a chance to see this play, treat yourself to it.